What is so bad about a Brexit? And if it is so bad, why are the Brits asking for it? Are they nuts?
The answers could be culled from what Tharman said, '"The majority of the educated class voting to stay; the less educated to leave. Those doing well in their jobs and incomes voting to stay; those who felt they've been losing out voted to leave. Many more of the young voted to stay; old voting to leave."
And there is also the problem of the "weakening of trust and consensus in society, and of the centre in politics".
Quoting from the same article in Channel News Asia, Mr Tharman said, "the politics of the centre must stay connected to the challenges that ordinary people face - and address their need for jobs and security, and a balance in immigration that preserves a sense of identity. Tackling this without turning inwards,and weakening jobs and society further, is the central challenge everywhere."
Immigration and jobs are of utmost importance to the Brits voting to get out. Then for those who wanted to remain are those that are benefiting from the status quo. This is very similar to the situation in Singapore. Those that are benefiting from the PAP rule will not want to rock the boast, but those not having a fair share in the gravy train would want change. And there is also the issue of the centre not doing enough to tackle the angst of the people over immigration, the weakening jobs and society.
The Brits have chosen uncertainty and change and hoping for the better. And the portions of people wanting change against those wanting to stay were quite close but enough to tip the balance. When would Singapore reach this point when those wanting change would tip the balance and go for it, to replace the PAP rule like the Brits did?
The exit from the EU presents a lot of opportunities to the Brits. They have been world powers and a political maverick that was ahead of its time. The initiative to break away from the American camp to join AIIB was an ace scored by the British that changed the bigger picture of the world's financial structure. What's next from Britain that would rock the world?
Would Britain join BRICS or form a new alliance with Russia and China where it could benefit more from the new associations than being burden by a basket of burdensome countries and failed economies? Looking from the positive side, there are many positive cards in the new British hands to play. The EU is not what it was presumed and designed to be. It is getting dysfunctional and Britain may lead more countries to want to quit the EU. The subjugation of national interests to other nations' interests that did not really bring benefits to the country would not be acceptable. Asean is facing the same problems. What is good for one is not necessary good for the other.
Trust the Brits to take full advantage of their new status and identity to carve a new and better chapter in their story going forward. There is no fear of change. When the majority wants it, even a small majority, change will come and the old beneficiaries of the incumbent moribund system must make way.
Do not underestimate the wisdom and ingenuity of the Brits and think they are stupid. They did not rule the world for nothing, definitely not because they were stupid. The doomsayers think they are cleverer than the Brits. The Brits would prove to them who are the real stupid ones in due course.